Mathews High School

For a history of the school before the name was changed to Mathews High School, view the Vienna Centralized School entry.

After the consolidation of Fowler and Vienna schools in 1961, the name of the high school, Vienna Centralized School (also known as Vienna High School) had to be changed. The school board surveyed both townships for a new name and a few weeks later a decision was made. The original building would be renamed Mathews High School, in memory of Ithel F. Mathews, a revered former teacher and beloved friend of many in the community. The Fowler school building was renamed the Neal Building after Frank Neal, a former Fowler superintendent.

This building served as the high school in the Fowler-Vienna Local School District, and now serves as the high school for the Mathews Local School District.

Sometime in the 1960s, additional classrooms were added near the entrance of the gymnasium, east of the main building.

Additional classrooms were added to the east side of the building in the 1960s.Image source: The Memory 1965
Aerial view of Mathews High School in 1969.Image source: Memory 1969

Historically, the commencement and baccalaureate events were two separate dates for school graduates. The first class to hold both events on the same night started with the Mathews High School Class of 1971 according to the 1971 yearbook.

On June 4, 1995 a fire broke out on the third floor of the Mathews High School. A passing motorist noticed heavy smoke coming out of the building and called 911. The Vienna and Fowler Fire Departments arrived at the scene and extinguished the fire, which was later found to be confined to the OWE office. The smoke damage was extensive and estimated to be in excess of $1,000,000. Carter Lewis Construction renovated and finished in time for the 1995-1996 school year. As a result, the third floor was completely remodeled with new floors, doors, ceilings and freshly painted walls. Furniture, computers and textbooks were also replaced.

Image source: Mathews 1996

Coverage of the fire appeared in the Tribune Chronicle on June 5, 1995. The article may be found here.

As of 2020, Mathews High School has 26 classrooms, a dedicated music room, a library, a gymnasium with a stage, and a cafeteria. The building served grades 9-12 until 2011 when Neal Middle School closed. The following school year 8th grade students joined the student body at the high school. Eventually 7th grade students were moved as well. In the fall of 2022, 6th grade students were moved from Baker School to the high school to join grades 7-12.

Mathews High School in 2020
Mathews High School in 2020

The high school gymnasium is referred to as the Vienna Memorial Auditorium. On January 17, 2014, the floor of the auditorium was renamed "Rex Leach Court" to honor Rex Leach, the all-star player for the Vienna Flyers.

One of the nicknames of the high school gymnasium is "The Shoebox."

Banner displays nickname, "The Shoebox."
Image captured at the Mathews High School Boys Basketball Game, February 1, 2022.

Behind the high school, there is a softball field where the Mathews High School girls softball team plays and practices.

Sign in front of Mathews High School after consolidation.Source: Memory 1972

Key Club's Idea: Identify the School and Unite the Communities

Ever since the building of the high school in 1915, the engraving in the masonry atop the front of the building has read "Vienna Centralized School." For this reason, the 1991-1992 Mathews High School Key Club, under the direction of advisor Robin Clower, chose to erect a permanent sign displaying the current name of the high school as their service project. The Key Club was the student branch of the Kiwanis Club of Vienna.

The "Vienna Centralized School" text remains at the top of the school's facade.Image courtesy of Leanne Lee, 2017

Key Club members gathered estimates for the sign. The Crown Sign Company of Vienna quoted $1565 for materials. Labor would be paid for by a donation by the G. W. Clower Company. The sign was planned to be a 30" x 72" limestone face to match the existing limestone on the building, two 4' 6" brick pillars as legs, and a cement pad. To complete the sign, a limestone cap would be placed atop each pillar. The sign would read "Mathews High School - Home of the Mustangs" with the picture of the school mascot. One-third of the total cost was required as a down payment before construction of the sign could begin.

Members of the Key Club were given pamphlets that described the project, costs, and goals. All members, in pairs, were assigned to area businesses to ask for contributions and make the community aware of the project. Private donations were also accepted and encouraged at Kiwanis functions such as annual dinners and shows. By May of 1992 the club had received more than enough money necessary to pay for the sign's down payment. By late August of 1992, after many months of hard work and determination, the sign was finished.

Sign contributions over $100

Cortland Banks
Crown Sign Company
D. B. A. Midway Mobile Homes
G. W. Clower Company
H. F. Everett Gas and Oil Company, Inc.
Hawley Landscaping
Mathews Athletic Boosters
Mathews High School Staff
Mathews PTA
Starr Fabricating, Inc.
Robert and Genie Ulp
Woodall Tree Preservation
Vienna Hardware

Sign contributions under $100
Airport Auto Sales
Angelino's Pizza
The Apple Basket
Robert and Emily Capots
Roger Clouse, DDS
Donah Clower
Fred Ebinger
Bruce and Jeanne Geilhard
Kleese Development
John P. Lutsek, Attorney at Law
Norton Tire Company, Inc.
P. B. I. Pool Builders
Prestwick Golf Course
Mr. & Mrs. Jack Slanina
James M. Trapp, DDS
Larry Trudell
Williams Super Duper
Vienna Pharmacy
Yankee Kitchen

A second sign was eventually erected east of the Key Club sign.The new sign is illuminated and letters could be attached to provide general announcements.A photo of the new sign was first visible in the 2002 yearbook.
Both signs were still present in front of the school in 2021.
MUSTANG PRIDE - On June 1, 2022 a wooden mustang named Eclipse was installed in front of the school. The figure was donated by Shawn Seminara, Mathews High School Class of 1987 and chainsaw artist, who carved the 8 foot tall mustang from cottonwood and oak.
Entry about the sign is adapted from Jonathan Ulp, James Totten, Karen Templin and Carrie Petrich, "Identify the School, Unify the Communities" in Vienna, Ohio, "Where We Live and Let Live": Town 4, Range 2 of the Connecticut Western Reserve (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1999), pp. 214-218.
Abraham, Lisa. "Fire ends Mathews School year," Warren Tribune Chronicle, June 5, 1995, page 1.
Additional research contributed by Christine Novicky in 2021.
Images courtesy of Christine Novicky